Scuba divers are taught from the beginning of their training that staying hydrated when you dive is extremely important.
Dehydration is the most common contributing factor in making decompression sickness more likely to occur.
But the emphasis is typically placed on how the diver should drink before and after their dive.
What about during the dive?
Can a scuba diver drink while they are underwater?
You might want to be able to drink water because you are making long dives, just get thirsty, or suffer from a dry mouth caused by the dry scuba air.
Whatever the reason, we will see how you can drink water while scuba diving with practice and a special bottle.
- Is It Possible To Drink While Underwater?
- Are There Special Scuba Drinking Bottles?
- How Do Scuba Divers Stay Hydrated During Long Dives?
- Will I Get Dehydrated if I Don’t Drink During a Dive?
- Should I Take Drinking Water on My Next Dive?
- 7 Tips To Stay Hydrated When Scuba Diving
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Is It Possible To Drink While Underwater?
Yes, it is possible to drink while underwater scuba diving.
For most people, the most significant barrier to them drinking is doing so while keeping control of their airway.
Usually, when scuba diving, we will keep the regulator in our mouths at all times.
We might take it out for a photo while remembering to blow tiny bubbles, so we’re not holding our breath, but other than that, most divers like to keep their regulator in place.
This obviously creates a problem with drinking.
The second problem is that hard or even soft bottles are almost impossible to drink out of underwater.
When you drink from a hard bottle above the surface, air will enter the bottle to replace the liquid that you’ve drunk.
Underwater this isn’t possible, as, without air to enter the bottle, the liquid inside won’t come out.
So the only way to get the liquid out of a bottle is to squeeze it while you drink from it.
Unfortunately, if you do that, the bottle will suck the surrounding water back in as soon as you let go, which won’t be nice on the next mouthful.
So to drink underwater, we need to use something that is:
- comfortable to drink from
- won’t let the surrounding water back in, and
- need to be able to control our airway, so we don’t inhale any water.
5 Ways to Drink Underwater
1. Use a Soft, Flexible Water Bottle
A soft, collapsible water bottle, like a Platypus bottle, is excellent to use underwater.
Because it is flexible, you can squeeze it to drink from, and your liquid will readily come out into your mouth.
When you stop squeezing, as the bottle is completely soft, it doesn’t need to spring back into shape.
To make it easier, you can get push-pull caps or even bite valves to completely seal your bottle and stop sea or lake water from getting in.
2. Use a CamelBak
Like a soft water bottle, you can use a CamelBak or similar flexible drinking water bag with a tube to drink from underwater.
These have the advantage of carrying liquid in large volumes, and while divers need to adapt them for underwater use, they can be handy for a diver making long dives.
3. Use a Soft Packaged Drink
Pre-packaged drinks in flexible pouch containers can be drunk underwater through a straw.
Capri Sun drinks are particularly popular as the soft foil pouch is ideal for drinking from underwater.
You can gently squeeze the pouch to help suck out the drink through the straw.
The pouch won’t return to its original shape when you release it and suck in the surrounding liquid.
4. Improvise With a Straw
It is possible to drink from a hard bottle underwater through a drinking straw in a pinch.
The only problem is that as you suck the drink out, the surrounding water will enter the bottle, and eventually, the two liquids will mix, which might not be desirable.
So if you do this, it’s a good idea to leave at least a quarter of the drink in the bottle undrunk.
5. Practice and Drink Slowly
If you want to drink underwater, it’s a good idea to practice in steps in shallow water, so you don’t have a problem.
- Make sure that your drinking bottle is ready before you take out your regulator and that you know what you are going to do
- Take a deep breath and remember to blow tiny bubbles, so you’re not holding your breath
- Take a small drink by squeezing the bottle or sucking from the straw
- Replace your regulator, take some breaths and then repeat
Are There Special Scuba Drinking Bottles?
As of yet, no enterprising company has come up with special scuba drinking bottles commercially.
Perhaps this is because scuba divers are enterprising people who are happy to improvise.
Soft, flexible drinking bottles, Camelbaks, or foil drink pouches with straws are great solutions that allow divers to carry liquids with them underwater to drink.
There is a product called an Apollo Bio-Filter, which attaches to your regulator and filters the air before you breathe it.
It is also able to add moisture into the dry scuba air.
By breathing air with higher moisture content, it might be possible that a scuba diver will not get a dry mouth or throat while diving and so won’t need to drink.
How Do Scuba Divers Stay Hydrated During Long Dives?
Scuba divers making long dives may carry liquids with them so they can stay hydrated.
As well as replacing water lost from sweating and normal metabolism, divers making long dives need to counter the effects that being underwater itself has on our hydration.
When we dive, the surrounding water pressure causes blood to become concentrated in the central areas of our bodies.
To reduce the increasing pressure on our hearts, our kidneys will start to excrete more water than usual.
This is the reason that scuba diving might make you feel like you need the bathroom more often.
Someone making a long dive, like a technical diver, might experience dehydrating effects and so will have to replace the lost fluids.
Scuba divers making long dives will often use sports or rehydrating drinks to replace electrolytes they have lost or provide energy rather than drinking plain water.
Will I Get Dehydrated if I Don’t Drink During a Dive?
In reality, on a regular one-hour dive, a recreational diver won’t suffer from dehydration.
So long as you are well hydrated before your dive and drink liquids afterward, you don’t need to be concerned.
Should I Take Drinking Water on My Next Dive?
You can take drinking water on your next dive if you feel you need to.
The most common reason recreational divers want to drink underwater is that they suffer from a dry mouth caused by breathing the dry scuba air.
Taking something to drink in a sealed flexible pouch means that you can wet your mouth if you start to feel uncomfortable.
It is also possible that someone who is scuba diving with diabetes might take a sugar-rich drink with them under a doctor’s advice so that they can quickly boost their sugar levels if they suffer from hypoglycemia underwater.
7 Tips To Stay Hydrated When Scuba Diving
1. Drink Plenty Before, After & Between Your Dives
It’s vital to drink plenty of liquids before and after your dives.
Make sure that you drink water or fruit juices that provide high levels of hydration.
2. Take a Water Bottle With You
It’s easy not to drink enough during your diving day, particularly if you are on a diving boat that uses water dispensers and small cups.
Carrying your own bottle isn’t just good for the environment, it also helps you monitor how much you are drinking and acts as a reminder to drink if your bottle is still full.
3. Eat Fruit for Extra Hydration and Energy
If you need a snack before or between dives, fruit is an excellent idea.
Fruit will provide you with natural energy, and also contains water, so it will help boost your hydration levels.
4. Avoid Drinking Alcohol Before Diving
Of course, you must not scuba dive while under the influence of alcohol.
But it would be best if you also considered the effects of alcohol the night before your dives.
Drinking excessively can leave you highly dehydrated and is a common cause of decompression sickness in vacation scuba diving resorts.
5. Be Aware Of Caffeinated Drinks
There’s nothing wrong with a cup of coffee or tea after your dive.
But be aware that caffeinated drinks can dehydrate you if you drink them excessively.
It’s better to leave drinks like cola as a small treat rather than drinking them too heavily as they may also dehydrate you.
6. Recognize the Effects of the Sun
Bright sun and hot weather can dehydrate you, and you might not always realize it in time.
Before, between, and after your dives, consider staying in the shade and hydrating rather than lying in the sun and sweating.
7. Avoid Seasickness
Seasickness is a sure way to get dehydrated.
If you suffer, make sure that you take scuba diving approved seasickness medication sufficiently early before getting on the boat.
Follow our other tips to avoid seasickness and nausea.
Most scuba divers don’t need to drink during their typical dives.
However, it might be necessary to drink while underwater for those making longer dives or anyone who suffers from a dry throat or mouth.
Staying well hydrated before your dives can help a lot, but if you need to drink underwater, you’ll need a suitable soft, flexible bottle.
Practice carefully in shallow water and only take small sips at a time.
Remember that breathing is more important than drinking water.
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